Teleworks USA Hosts Grand Opening of Beattyville Teleworks Hub, Staff Looks Forward to Future in Lee County

More than forty people, including state and local leaders, community members, and jobseekers, gathered in Beattyville on Wednesday, March 30, to mark the grand opening of Teleworks USA’s newest Teleworks Hub.

Located at 30 Railroad Street near Beattyville City Hall, the new Hub features online and instructor-led customer service, digital literacy, and tech support training, and includes fully equipped workstations to accommodate up to 27 teleworkers at one time. Wednesday’s grand opening presented the Beattyville community its first opportunity to see up close how the Hub works to train and connect jobseekers for legitimate telework with employers from across the nation.

“We’re delighted that so many local leaders and people from the community were able to come out today and see exactly what Teleworks USA and the new Teleworks Hub will be able to offer,” said Beattyville Hub Manager Tracie Spencer. 

“Part of our goal is to expand the Teleworks Hubs to reach as many communities as possible, but the real objective is to help the people in this region who are and have been struggling to find employment try something different and be really successful,” she added.

An initiative of the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP), Teleworks USA identifies and develops legitimate remote-work, distance learning opportunities, and helps to prepare people for the jobs by training them in necessary teleworking skills, working with them on creating résumés and developing superior interviewing skills, then applying for an obtaining legitimate work-from-home positions through its website, www.teleworksusa.com.

Graduates of Teleworks USA’s training receive four separate industry-recognized certifications, assistance with their résumés and interviewing skills, up-to-date tech support training, as well as anything else needed to land a gainful work-from-home or work-from-Hub job with the many national companies that work with Teleworks USA. 

Two weeks ago in Beattyville, seven prospective teleworkers quickly filled the slots available in the Hub’s first training class. All of those trainees already have job interviews scheduled with telework employers after completing just half of the Hub’s four-week training program, said Michael Cornett, director of agency expansion with EKCEP.

Many telework jobs feature a starting pay between $8-$10 per hour. Some positions with companies like U-Haul involve commission, which can take pay up to $15-$17 per hour. Many full-time telework positions also feature employee benefits.

A partnership between leadership in Lee County and EKCEP moved quickly to help bring these new job opportunities to the area, with the grand opening on March 30 representing the culmination of work that began in August 2015, Cornett said.

“Today was a chance to get the community in here with government leaders, city and county leaders, and others who have been instrumental in helping us get the support and infrastructure needed to create this great facility,” he said. “Lots of credit certainly goes to Beattyville Mayor John Smith and Lee County Judge-Executive Steve Mays. Without them, we wouldn’t be here at this event and standing in this Hub.”

Cornett also credited Sandra Dunahoo, a Beattyville native and now Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Local Government, with helping initially pull together local leaders last summer and working closely with planning efforts that led to the Hub’s creation.

Similar community support has helped launch Teleworks Hubs in other Eastern Kentucky communities, such as Hazard and Annville. Since opening in January 2015, the Annville Hub has helped bring more than 177 jobs and an estimated $3.5 million in new wages to Jackson and surrounding counties. Teleworks USA will open a fourth Hub in Harlan, Ky., by late April, and plans are also underway to bring Teleworks Hubs to Owsley and Martin counties later in the year.

With the Beattyville Teleworks Hub’s 27 telework stations and computers ready for workers who may not have the appropriate equipment or Internet speeds to work from home, Spencer said she is eagerly awaiting enrollments for the upcoming classes at the Hub so those desks can begin to fill up.

“Many people come to us not knowing what Teleworks USA is or what to expect,” Spencer said. “When they get in our classes, it’s like a whole new world of opportunity is opened up to them—jobs they never thought of doing or never knew they could do while living and staying in the area. With the Hub here, that’s all a reality now, and we’re changing people’s lives.”

Seating for the Teleworks USA training classes at the Hub is limited, so interested jobseekers in Lee and surrounding counties should make sure they contact Tracie Spencer at tspencer@teleworksusa.com, or call her at 606-216-6811.

EKCEP, a nonprofit workforce development agency headquartered in Hazard, Ky., serves 23 Appalachian coalfield counties. The agency provides an array of workforce development services and also administers the Hiring Our Miners Everyday (H.O.M.E.) program, which provides career services to laid-off miners and their spouses. Find out more at www.jobsight.org and www.facebook.com/ekcep.